Old & New Media Can Get Along

18 07 2010

For my final post concerning the impact of social media on traditional media, I want to sum up this topic as a whole and point out the broader impact instead of focusing on specific examples. Let’s start off by recapping 11 lessons that we have learned.

  1. Social media has contributed to the decline of old media.
  2. Social media offers valuable 2-way dialogue.
  3. Social media is weaving its way into television.
  4. Social media can have a sense of humor.
  5. Social media is going audio. (Keep your eye on Audioboo)
  6. Social media has helped magazines stay alive by boosting the quality and quantity of their content.
  7. Social media policies can be controversial.
  8. Social media is a valuable tool for horizontally integrated companies (like ESPN).
  9. Social media has and is making a tremendous impact on journalism.
  10. Social media has helped some newspapers keep readers engaged.
  11. Social media has helped old media engage in online conversations.

Now I know these are not the only things we have learned but they are some of the fundamental lessons. So now what can we conclude about the impact of social media on traditional media?

Like we have already discussed, although social media has contributed to the decline of old media, social media can be used as a very valuable tool for old media to remain competitive. The 2-way dialogue that social media creates has changed the way people communicate across the globe. Whether B2B, P2P, or P2B, I think it is safe to say that social media has made communication much more efficient. For traditional media, this has vital effects because they must keep up with the pace of modern communications. Obviously social media is the resource to accomplish this but old media must strategically use this resource just as any other business must. I encourage traditional media companies in need for such strategies to check out Erica Swallow’s 6 Crucial Social Media Tips for Traditional Media.

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I believe overtime the two will learn how to get along and reach a balance. Newspapers will probably continue to struggle but I hope at some point they reach a threshold where they seize declining because they are so critical to the value of journalism. Just like in the CNN blog post, if social media and traditional media can work to create a mutual relationship it could be very valuable. Autonomous and objective news should be our number one priority as social media progresses and we build this relationship between old media and new media.


WSJ Still Thrives in Tough Times

18 07 2010

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As we have already discovered, traditional media are searching for new techniques to engage their audiences to offset low readership and circulation (newspapers and magazines). Most of these media end up finding social media to be the answer, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is no different. Except the WSJ requires readers to subscribe for a monthly fee (unless they want to pay the yearly subscription in whole) to access all of their content, so how is the WSJ using social media to engage their audience?

Well for one, the WSJ has a blogs page that is free for anyone to read and share via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and nearly any other social media channel. They also have a very comprehensive Facebook page that incorporates their blogs, streams their Twitter feed, and offers other news stories for free. Their Journal Community allows readers to connect with other people and discuss topics. Honestly, I had trouble finding content that I actually had to pay for! So what exactly are subscribers paying for? Well they receive updated news alerts, access to their online markets data center, printed journals 6 days a week, and an iPhone or Blackberry app if they subscribe to both online and print journals. But do you think the WSJ offers enough perks to convince people to subscribe?

With 414,00 paid subscribers for online content and an over all circulation of 2.1 million, the WSJ leads the pack as the most widely circulated newspaper. The WSJ has actually felt a slight increase in circulation while other newspapers struggle with declining circulation numbers. Some have said that the WSJ demonstrates the proper way to use a pay wall and still find readers willing to pay for newspaper content. Although some bloggers have condoned the WSJ for their social media policy, it appears as though the newspaper has embraced social media strategically and appropriately.

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Even though you can access most of the WSJ’s content for free and share via your social media of choice, I still believe the newspapers quality reputation gives readers a valid reason to subscribe. In fact, all this talk about the WSJ really makes me wish I still had a subscription! What do you think?

CNN Embraces Citizen Journalists Despite Competitive Threat

12 07 2010

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Wether or not you agree blogs should be  considered journalism is one thing. But one thing for certain is that citizen journalism is on the rise, mostly due to the increased popularity of social media. CNN has realized this and accommodated aspiring journalists by creating iReport, a service that allows ordinary people to share news, opinions, and more. The best stories are inspected and approved by CNN and used in CNN platforms. Some have claimed CNN is the most social media savvy news organization, but the network’s viewership is taking a fall. Ironically, CNN president Jonathan Klein thinks social networking sites pose as a competitive threat to news organizations. He might be on to something, but first lets focus on how social networks are changing journalism.

It appears as though the large news conglomerates are losing power over the news. The advent and explosion of social networks have made it possible for anyone to share a story over the internet and this has created quite the stir. Journalists across the country are losing their jobs and numerous newspapers have had to shut down. Many citizen journalists are not trained to be objective or autonomous and its damaging the reputation of journalist in general. Professional journalist have valuable connections that help create investigative stories that citizen journalists may not have access too. Without quality journalist, the fate of our democracy is in jeopardy. On the other hand, online journalist have been accredited for uncovering important stories like the “Phantom Congressional District” where billions of dollars worth of errors were found in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. News conglomerates are no longer the almighty gatekeeper of news, so stories that may have not previously been reported  due to conflicts of interest have more potential to be reported. There are many pros and cons of citizen journalism, but essentially it offers a potentially respectable news alternative. So what does all of this have to do with CNN?

For the good of the American people, professional journalist and citizen journalist must find a middle ground. If the two can work together then American citizens can be more informed and prepared to make educated decisions concerning our democracy. I believe CNN’s iReport could be the answer: a social network that lets citizen journalist with quality stories to be heard. Perhaps if other news organizations are willing to adopt this concept, we could remarkably improve American journalism.

Even though CNN’s viewership numbers are falling to other news organizations, they managed to make 2009 their most profitable year to date. Maybe Klein needs to view social networks as a valuable asset and not a threat if he wants to top last years earnings.

ESPN: Choose Your Favorite Social Media Source

11 07 2010

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When I originally decided to blog about ESPN’s use of social media, I forgot to consider how extensive ESPN’s media is. Not only do they have multiple television channels but they also have a radio station and a magazine. As I began my research at the ESPN website, I was quickly reminded of this because each of these 3 media have their own separate websites. But I’m here to talk about social media, and in case you have not heard I’ll be the first to tell you: ESPN is utilizing social media.

Where should I begin? Well first there’s the blog page that I don’t think they could fit any more blogs into. Seriously, there are over 30 different blogs that cover a vast range of different sports including niche sports like snowmobiling and BMX. Users are offered the option to become an “Insider” for a small subscription fee. This service provides subscribers with perks like access to exclusive blogs, fantasy benefits, ESPN the Magazine, and expert draft coverage. Each blog contains convenient links to share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or subscribe via RSS feed. I’d say ESPN has blogs on lock, but that’s not the only social media ESPN has on lock.

One impressive way ESPN is engaging in social media is through their Podcenter. With category and topic filters, the site makes it easy to find a specific podcast you may be searching for. It even offers exclusive podcasts for Insiders. All of the podcast (except Insider podcasts) are available for downloading, playing, and RSS feeds. So far ESPN has demonstrated blog and podcast mastery, but what about video?

Well ESPN offers a magnitude of video content through their YouTube channel and their video page. The video page offers hundreds of videos that are  easy to navigate by sport, TV show, category, and more.

You could probably guess that ESPN has a Facebook page, but they also have over a dozen Twitter accounts that you can check out at their Twitter List. The different Twitter accounts vary from specific cities to specific sports so followers can get just the news (or should I say Tweets) they are looking for.

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Before you stop reading this post because you’re thinking, “Okay, I get the point. ESPN knows how to use social media.” I must tell you that there has been some controversy over their social media policy that they implemented last year. The policy prohibits employees from posting sports content in personal websites or social networks and critiques have claimed this is inappropriately limiting employee expression and hurting the company’s efforts to demonstrate transparency. I’ll let you read the articles linked above and form your own opinion but if you care to hear my opinion on the matter, feel free to ask in a comment.

ESPN’s social media efforts are impressive. Their website offers an array of diverse content that can easily be shared in multiple social media formats and I believe this proves ESPN is the worldwide leader of sports in social media.

Magazines Joining the Conversation

8 07 2010

So far it appears as though social media can be a tool that either makes or breaks traditional media and this is no different with magazines. It’s no secret that magazines have been hit hard by the recession and low circulation, but some magazines are turning to new media for help. Among such magazines are Lapham’s Quarterly and Seventeen.

Take one look at Lapham’s Quarterly website and it will not take long to realize they have embraced social media. The magazine uses Twitter, Facebook, and podcasts to keep this historically themed magazine in tact with current conversations. Check out their Twitter page and you can see how they join in on conversations by taking historical events or dates and appropriately put them into modern context. Their Facebook page allows them to post relevant articles and hear what people are saying about them. Since Lapham’s Quarterly is only published 4 times a year (obviously), the magazine uses social media to keep their audience engaged between magazines and to cost-effectively market subscriptions.

Other than selling subscriptions, Seventeen Magazine has been utilizing social media to incorporate advertisers and tap into their audience’s conversations in an effort to improve content. The magazine allows advertisers to pay to jump in on their conversations but Seventeen makes it clear to advertisers that they are granted this opportunity to build their brand, not to sell a product. The magazine uses Facebook to listen in on their audience and hear what they want from the magazine. Sometimes they will ask questions, offer exclusive subscription rates, or just see what people are talking about. Their Youtube channel gives the magazine video content that even further engages their audience. Whatever the case, magazines like Seventeen can enjoy some benefits by conversing online through new media.

With magazine readership and circulation rates on the decline, social media offers a whole new platform for experiencing magazines. New media allows participants to share content with their friends and indirectly promote the magazine by retweeting or posting links, but will this be enough to save the magazine industry? Do you think magazines will soon only be offered in an online format? If so, when? Are you subscribed to a magazine that offers online content? If so, what do you think about it?

(Here is where I was going to embed a youtube video from Seventeen’s channel but I realized they are not relevant and there is no point in making you suffer through one of those videos!)

Audio-who? Audioboo.

4 07 2010

I don’t know about you, but I rarely listen to the radio anymore. Why would I take a gamble turning on the monopolized radio when I can plug in my iPod and be sure I’m going to hear good music? Well I know I’m not the only one who feels this way because traditional radio is on the decline. More and more people feel like they have lost the personal connection radio listeners used to feel and are turning to new media sources of audio content like Pandora and Audioboo. If you’re like me and had not heard of Audioboo, allow me to fill you in.

Ok, I know that’s not the best explanation of Audioboo (there’s a much better one on their website) but you get the idea. It appears as though Audioboo is still developing, but the concept of an audio-like Twitter is quite fascinating. On a side note, this technology could be very valuable to companies who use a lot of audio in their communication strategies. But more importantly to radio, this has the potential to put people in charge of audio content in a social platform. If the radio is willing to participate in online conversations and adopt social media like Audioboo into their content, perhaps they could prevent the decline of radio by engaging listeners.

Radio stations have been conversing with listeners by allowing them to call in for years now. But now people are using these new channels to let themselves be heard and traditional radio must realize this if they want to survive. This is critical for radio stations trying to reach younger demographics. By creating Twitter, Facebook, and Audioboo accounts, radio stations could open valuable channels for increasing social engagement with their audiences and perhaps revive some life back into radio.

What do you think about Audioboo; do you believe it has the potential to revive radio? How do you feel about radio stations incorporating social media into their content? Would you listen to the radio more often if you were able to participate via social media?

Social Media Is No Joke. Wait, Yes It Is.

2 07 2010

It’s no secret that people are turning to the internet for news and entertainment more and more everyday. Although television is still the number one source for gathering news, the internet ranks at third behind newspapers. So what is television doing to stop this trend? Well television stations like Comedy Central are creating shows that directly incorporate social media into their shows. And it is hilarious.

Daniel Tosh has created quite the buzz with his appropriately titled show, Tosh.0. In the show, he uses Twitter and Youtube as the basis of his comic material. Not only does he have a talent for finding the most ludicrous videos online and cracking hilarious jokes about them in his weekly “Video Breakdowns“, but he also allows viewers to participate in the show by submitting homemade videos. He even allows people who have been humiliated online to redeem (or sometimes further humiliate) themselves in his “Web Redemptions.” In one skit titled “Twitten By“, Tosh even let his audience collaborate via Twitter to create a random story.

Tosh.0 has accomplished a feat that no other television show has done before: it is the first television series with social media as the foundation for the entire show. But Tosh has also managed to keep his audience engaged off the television screen. Fans can follow him on Twitter (@danieltosh) or check out his blog that he updates hourly. Thats right, he updates it hourly between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. I encourage anyone who has not heard of Daniel Tosh to check him out Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central but fair warning: often times his humor is dirty, offensive, and hysterical.

If Tosh.0 continues to attract millions of viewers, do you think more televisions shows will adopt similar formats as Tosh.0 in the future? Would you like it if they did, or would you prefer your television entertainment to stay traditional (one-way communication)?

Note: I tried to embed one of Tosh’s video breakdowns but since his videos are not on youTube, it would not allow me to. You can check it out here if you please.